Carolina free agent rankings: No. 10

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28
8:00
AM ET
We move into the top 10 of my ranking and evaluation of the Carolina Panthers' 21 players eligible to become unrestricted free agents with a player who hasn't started a game since 2010.

Quarterback Derek Anderson.

You may be surprised to see his name here, but when you read below it hopefully makes sense.

To rehash the rankings so far: No. 21 quarterback Jimmy Clausen, No. 20 wide receiver Brandon LaFell, No. 19 cornerback Drayton Florence, No. 18 guard Geoff Hangartner, No. 17 linebacker Dan Connor, No. 16 linebacker Jason Williams, No. 15 tackle Bruce Campbell, No. 14 cornerback James Dockery, No. 13 defensive tackle Colin Cole, No. 12 guard Travelle Wharton and No. 11 linebacker Jordan Senn.

Now to No. 10:

10. Derek Anderson: You can't enter training camp without a proven backup quarterback. Well, you can, but it's risky. Anderson has been in Carolina's system for three seasons since last starting nine games for Cleveland in 2010. He understands what offensive coordinator Mike Shula wants and he's been a positive influence on starter Cam Newton. With Newton averaging 122 rushes in his first three seasons, the team has been fortunate he hasn't been injured enough to start. At some point it could happen, and it makes sense to have Anderson ready when it does. It also makes sense for Carolina to bring a young quarterback into camp to challenge for the backup role, but you have to have Anderson in place in case that doesn't pan out. He seems content being Newton's backup and he shouldn't come at a high price. It just makes sense.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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